After making seemingly irreversible gaffes on almost every media outlet short of radio, Amy’s Baking Company might as well be known as “Amy’s Clown Co.” in the public consciousness. Calling customers names, degrading staff members with their paranoid rules of employment, and the downright disgusting food preparation certainly caught our attention.
But one has to wonder: If this wasn’t just a ploy by owners Samy and Amy to make themselves into a household name by hook or by crook, did they do anything right? We found evidence of 5 positive things they did that other business owners can learn from.
5. Be known for something
It is, obviously, not advisable to argue with your customers to the point of spitefully burning their “uncooked’ pizzas or kicking them out for saying they were not happy with their food. However, Amy’s placed themselves in the public eye with their stubborn and incredulous behavior. The incessant arguing–instigated by Amy herself–over every little thing she couldn’t control made Chef Gordon Ramsay quit on restaurant rehabilitation for the second time in Kitchen Nightmare’s history. And we couldn’t look away.
“No press is bad press,” right? This episode complicates that idea. If you are known for insanely bad service, and a bad product, it won’t be long will until the business is nothing more than a reality TV commodity. But be known for something, and people will have a reason to pay attention and share the word about your business with others.
4. Stick together
It was touching to see how much Samy stuck up for Amy on Kitchen Nightmares. They are, after all, just a husband and wife team trying to make it in the restaurant business.
Even after crashing and burning (and not just pizzas!) on every one of the show’s segments, Samy is always seen consoling his wife either verbally, by kicking out the customers that were offended by the pre-packaged food, or yelling at Chef Ramsay. Equally as supportive was Amy. She was always taking into consideration how much Samy had on his plate as manager and lashing out at the employees in a frustration that stemmed from that.
While Samy and Amy have teamwork to their credit, they neglected to make their employees part of the team. In fact, the owners routinely alienated employees by being unnecessarily vengeful and not trusting them with run-of-the-mill tasks, like handling money. Had they expanded their circle of trust beyond each other, they may well have had more support when the going got really tough.
3. Hire experts when you need them
In the case of Amy’s, this was a no-brainer! Hiring a PR disaster recovery firm was the clear next step for Samy and Amy after the fallout from dissing bad reviewers as “weak” and telling them that they “don’t know good food”.
Your business likely doesn’t need this level of damage control, but hiring an expert to guide you on social media, branding, or running an event to boost business can be a proactive move to build insurance against bad press in the future. Just try to stick with it for more than a week. Amy’s didn’t.
2. Respond to negative feedback
Sure it was ALL CAPS LOCK ALL THE TIME, and they had not a shade of respect for the customer. But, Samy and/or Amy had the initiative to at least respond to all the negative feedback.
Their comments really started to hit the ground running after their episode of Kitchen Nightmares aired. Of course, we would advise against calling someone on Facebook an “oppressor” or threatening to sue each person who is simply stating an opinion. But if you can bring that level of dedication to customer satisfaction, thanking all of your customers and learning from those who complain, you’ll turn all the chatter about your business into an asset rather than a liability.
1. Engage wherever you can
Amy’s has virtually all of their bases covered on social media platforms. They’re even on Reddit! Again, they were famous for being intolerable people and just bad business owners on TV. But they followed through on social media. And because of the hacking drama of who was manning the comments on Facebook, they confused and thereby intrigued, their audience.
There are better ways to attract potential customers than being a hot mess. But being active on Twitter, Yelp, Facebook or wherever customers might engage with your business online can help extend the good work you do and give your brand a wider audience.